When you look at the headlines, it can seem like cybercriminals are constantly developing new tactics to seize your personal and business information. But you and your organization do not have to face this threat unarmed.
Case Study: Equifax Data Breach
Let’s use the recent Equifax data breach as an example of how a network breach can escalate. Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies, experienced a breach from mid-May through July. This allowed hackers access to the personal information of 143 million Americans – information including names, social security numbers, birth dates, and in some cases, driver’s license numbers.
While this large-scale attack occurred in the early summer, it took until mid-September for Equifax to identify the source of the breach: a vulnerability on part of its U.S. website in the open-source Apache Struts framework, which could have been fixed in early March with a standard patch.
In simple terms, Equifax’s IT department could have fixed this issue in the months before the breach, but did not follow a standard patching process, leaving their network vulnerable.
While big-name breaches are the ones getting news coverage, organizations of any size are at risk when it comes to cybercrime. Here are 4 major factors that businesses need to consider to ensure the protection of their data and systems:
- Employee Education is Essential – It is easy to blame bots, technology failure or scheming foreign entities when a security breach occurs. But in reality, they are usually caused by an action or inaction of someone inside the organization. Because employees are so often the weak link in IT security, it is important to educate everyone about IT security risks and obvious signs of phishing.
- Implement Patch Management – Remember that antivirus doesn’t provide protection against everything… like with the Equifax breach. By implementing and following a patch management process and schedule, your business will be more effectively protected against additional vulnerabilities like web plug-ins and add-ons.
- Network Awareness – It may seem obvious, but one of the most important ways to protect your network is to know your network. Implementing dedicated asset tracking allows you to map and check devices on your network. By automating this process, you will save time and eliminate the risk of data entry errors too.
- Watch Your Back – Sitting around and waiting for a threat to come along is not an effective cybersecurity strategy. To take control and ensure IT security, it is essential to implement a 24/7 monitoring solution, and then actually use it.
At YJT Solutions we know that establishing and implementing an effective IT security strategy is a complex undertaking, fraught with complications and new threats. To start off on the right foot, we suggest employing the 4 steps outlined above, and encourage you to stay up to date with changes to the cyber-threat landscape.
If you have any additional questions about how to get these essentials in place within your infrastructure, give us a call!